Now that Don’t Worry Darling is (finally) in theaters, it’s time to lay all the worrying to rest, darlings. And it seems with the film’s release, comes a loosening of lips of those who worked on the film. Certain rumors have been floating awhile on different social media platforms, but on Friday, Vulture lent credibility to most of them with a report by Chris Lee that confirmed an on-set blow-up between Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde, as well as Wilde and Harry Styles “disappearing from set”. Lee also asserts that then-Warner Brothers chief Toby Emmerich had to handle a “long negotiation process” to ensure Pugh would participate in ANY press for Darling, she was so pissed off by the conclusion of filming in early 2021.
In contrast, forty crew members issued a joint statement over the weekend disputing the on-set screaming match, which includes department heads such as costume designer Arianne Phillips and cinematographer Matthew Libatique (who has insisted all along there was no drama, darlings). I mean…okay. I don’t fault anyone, especially producers and key members of the leadership team, trying to throw some cold water on these flames. Probably should have been done earlier, once rumors started growing over the summer, but better late than never, I guess. It sort of looks like everyone knew the gossip was raising awareness for the film, which could only boost box office down the line, so they didn’t issue their “nothing to see here” statement until AFTER opening day, but again, I don’t blame anyone who wants to be officially on the record as not participating in the drama, darlings. For her part, Pugh shouted out the crew on Instagram over the weekend:
Here's what I can tell you after talking to two on-set members of production, and one person with knowledge of the production back at the studio. There was, indeed, a “loud” disagreement between Pugh and Wilde on set late into production. And Wilde would, indeed, “disappear” from set, aligning with times when no one could locate Harry Styles. One person described Wilde as “unpresent”. One social media rumor has it that Pugh “directed” much of the film, but this is not true. A director does more than yell “action” and “cut”, a LOT of their work is preparatory.
But it is believed to be the major source of Pugh’s ire that Wilde would be “unpresent”, and Pugh, already stressed, would grow tired of waiting and ask that they just start filming without Wilde. Everyone has their pages, they know what scene they’re shooting, Libatique and the first assistant director would know the shots Wilde wants, so they would proceed without Wilde, who would then breeze in and “take over” without acknowledging Pugh keeping them on track. Chris Pine apparently backed Pugh every time she asked to simply start without Wilde. Reportedly, Pine is firmly Team Miss Flo, factor that into Phantom Spitgate however you may.
I have no sense that Pugh cared particularly about Wilde and Styles disappearing together, but she did care about staying on schedule and not wasting time, and Wilde was held as unprofessional by many people on set for her vanishing act and then never acknowledging those instances when Pugh’s insistence was the only reason the whole day wasn’t wasted. It wasn’t so much that anyone cared she was (allegedly) having an affair, it’s that the affair was apparently bleeding onto set and affecting everyone else’s workday. THAT was the problem. Wilde is not wrong that many of her male counterparts get “gentler press coverage”, but when a dude director has a challenging production, we DO hear about it (see also: Fantastic Four 2015, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Lighthouse, in which Robert Eggers and Robert Pattinson reportedly got into it on set).
But as annoyed as people got with Wilde—and they got VERY annoyed—there is still a circle of protection in effect. All three of my sources hinted at worse happenings still, but were unwilling to go on the record, even as unnamed sources, about what went on, because no one actually wants to torpedo Wilde’s career. They’re all aware that she is eating worse sh-t than her male peers would for having an affair on set—it’s quirky when Peter Bogdanovich does it, or the start of an “enduring” Hollywood love story when it’s Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw—and that she is the target of Harry Styles’ crazed fans. No one wants to make that worse.
I have to believe there is yet more fire behind all this smoke, because an actor like Pugh, on the rise and ambitious, wouldn’t, essentially, throw away a major release like Darling unless there was a BIG reason to do so. Having a shouting match on set hardly qualifies, that happens WAY more than the general public knows, and no one panics over it. But whatever worse thing may exist, no one is talking. The feeling is that this one got away from Wilde, and that maybe she’ll learn from the whole experience (and that maybe without the distraction of Harry Styles, she’ll be more focused next time), and that Pugh will be fine either way. One thing is crystal clear, EVERYONE liked Florence Pugh, and by the end of production, respected her for enduring an increasingly difficult relationship with her director to turn in a fine performance. As the studio flak made clear, Florence abandoned the film’s press, but she never abandoned the production.
Here is an exclusive shot from TMZ of Harry and Olivia having dinner together in New York late last week.